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Mar 15, 2013 12:03 PM

Nacho cheese SAUCE or melted cheese? (inspired by Nacho Toppings thread)

This will either spawn a heated debate, or a dead thread...

Which do you prefer on your nachos, cheese sauce (Velveeta or maybe Queso Blanco) or melted cheese (like a Cheddar/Jack blend)?

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  1. If it's simple nachos, I just use shredded sharp Cheddar.

    If I'm going fancy, I do both - e.g., a green chile-Jack cheese sauce and shredded Jack (or Colby-Jack, or Cheddar) cheese.

    1. If I had to pick only one, cheese sauce. If I could make my ultimate nachos, sauce on first and then some shredded cheese to melt on top to add stretch and chew.

      But I am not a fan of just melted cheese by itself on my nachos. I've had too many nacho creations where one chip lifts all the cheese off the rest of the plate.

      1 Reply
      1. re: seamunky

        Yes to orangie sauce AND melted cheese

      2. Funny you started this thread. I made nachos last night that, while perfectly good, left me a bit underwhelmed. And I think the "problem" was that I used grated extra sharp cheddar. It seems to me that this form of cheese just tends to cook away and dry up in the oven. Next time I'm making a cheese sauce.

        Anybody got any tips for confecting the perfect cheese sauce for nachos?

        10 Replies
        1. re: Perilagu Khan

          We use extra sharp cheddar for almost everything in my house, salads, tacos, you name it. But it doesn't melt well. I like to mix it with Jack cheese for nachos.

          A lot of people all around the interwebs swear by this sauce, but I haven't tried it yet:

          1. re: Perilagu Khan

            I haven't tried this recipe, but I thought it looked intriguing when it was first posted:

            1. re: calmossimo

              Sounds most excellent. I'll give it a whirl.

              1. re: calmossimo

                Fun link. It led me to SE's taste test of cheese sauces:

                Serious Eats gives nacho sauce it's due! :)

                1. re: calmossimo

                  I tried this last night and it worked very well. Subbed salsa for hot sauce and poured the sauce over some pork tamales. Pretty righteous. I think next time, though, I'll reduce the cornstarch a bit. The texture was a tad grainy.

                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                    Thanks for reminding me of this recipe! I've had 3 fails with a b├ęchamel base, aiming for the white queso dip served at restaurants. I've just given up and been buying the stuff at Costco.

                    I'm going to try this tomorrow!

                    1. re: DuffyH

                      I recommend you time it so that you use it immediately after preparation. As it sits, it loses something.

                      1. re: DuffyH

                        If you can find the sodium citrate, this queso dip is amazing...


                        I usually use the same weight of beer to cheese (to make it a little thinner) and add a little cumin and Mexican oregano. The beer shouldn't be hoppy or bitter, you could also use milk or water as the liquid instead of beer.

                  2. re: Perilagu Khan

                    I like a canned enchilada verde sauce with velveeta melted in it. I'm classy like that.

                  3. Melted cheese. In my little world, cheese sauce is for dipping. If I must, I'll pour it over chips (and nothing but chips, no peppers or other add-ins), but that results in some floppy chips in the bottom of the bowl. So let's just stick with melted cheese over nachos, with FRESH diced jalape├▒os, pico, lettuce, black beans, cilantro and... nope, that's it. I'm good. :)

                    But I do love scooping up queso blanco with chips. Yum!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: DuffyH

                      What's queso blanco? I know it means white cheese, but it's being used (it seems like anyway) here to describe a sauce. I think of Mexican white cheese, queso fresco or queso cotija.

                      BTW, I like nachos both ways, but lean toward shredded or crumbled cheese, not a sauce.

                      1. re: EWSflash

                        Queso blanco is a white melting cheese found at Mexican grocery stores.

                    2. I am shocked that the answers so far include only fake cheese and cheddar - neither of which could be remotely Mexican.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: sandylc

                        Well, nachos are not, strictly speaking, Mexican. They are border food and as much Tex-Mex--which makes liberal use of cheddar and American cheese--as Mexican.

                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                          They were invented in Mexico. I don't have a problem with Tex-Mex and I even (reluctantly) accept that cheddar is used liberally in it.....

                          I was just expecting to see some Monterey Jack going on here...

                          1. re: sandylc

                            +1 to Monterey Jack. I use it in combo with cheddar. I like it's melting properties, but enjoy the added flavor of cheddar.

                            Mostly I've found that if cheddar is applied too heavily, or the nachos are stuck under the broiler for too long, that's when it gets greasy and clumpy. I've had really good luck using straight extra sharp by pre-heating my Breville while I'm heating the beans, shredding, etc... then sticking the completed dish under the broiler for about 1 minute, just enough to begin melting the cheese. Practically perfect, like Mary P. :)

                            1. re: sandylc

                              Yes, Piedras Negras, right across the river from Texas. They were almost instantaneously adapted to Tex-Mex and may well be more popular in Texas than Mexico. And do we really know what cheese was used on the first plate of nachos? Wouldn't shock me if it was cheddar. Presumably, cheddar is not entirely foreign to Mexico.

                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                I've only seen nachos in Mexico along the border. This article suggest inventor Nacho Ayala used yellow Wisconsin cheese.


                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                  Anaya's relatives remember yellow cheese:
                                  "My father was maitre d' and he said `Let me go quick and fix something for you.' He went into the kitchen, picked up tostados, grated some cheese on them -- Wisconsin cheese, the round one -- and put them under the salamander (a broiler that quickly browns foods). He pulled them out after a couple minutes, all melted, and put on a slice of jalapeno."

                                2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                  I remember something like nachos when visiting my mom's family in south Texas. After a day at the beach (South Padre Island) we ate at nice Mexican restaurant. An appetizer consisted of fried tortilla pieces (probably triangular) baked or broiled with cheese and pepper strips. I dont recall if there were beans or not, nor do I recall the name. This was in the 1960s.

                                  Latter in the 80s I spent a month in Piedras Negras. I remember locally made corn tortillas, home made flour tortillas, and Sunday barbacoa. Also my first taste of pico de gallo (the coarse fresh salsa version). But no nachos.

                                3. re: sandylc

                                  Is that Monterey,CA or Monterrey, NL?